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51st annual Art Fair rolls into St. Clair, June 25-26 – By Jim Bloch

Photo courtesy of Jim Bloch. The 2022 St. Clair Art Fair will spread out through Palmer Park along the St. Clair River.

By Jim Bloch

Around 100 artists working in a wide variety of media will show and sell their work on the banks of the St. Clair River in downtown St. Clair this weekend.

The 51st annual St. Clair Art Fair, produced by the St. Clair Art Association, will fill 102 booths in the city’s riverfront Palmer Park on Friday, June 25, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday, June 26, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The artists hail from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Florida, and Colorado.

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“It’s a pretty diverse group,” said Steve Path, president of the SCAA. “A lot of good artists are coming in.”

Path is chairing the fair along with Jason Stier and Twyla Waite.

The artists will display work in every imaginable medium — wood, jewelry, glass, sculpture, pottery, photography, painting, printmaking, fiber, wearable art, basketry, and a variety of mixed media.

“We are a juried show as we’ve always been,” said Path. “It’s a good group.”

The one exception to the riverfront exhibition will be the art show featuring the members of the SCAA, 17 artists who will show their work in the Alice Moore Gallery, home of the SCAA, in Riverview Plaza next to Drifters restaurant.

“All of the member art has to be new work,” said Path.

Visitors may also enter the free raffle inside the gallery to win one of six $50 gift cards from Meijer.

The Community Foundation of St. Clair County is sponsoring a number of artist-led demonstrations throughout Palmer Park, including mural painting on four-by-four foot panels, plein air painting, stained glassmaking, and pottery.

Food trucks will dot the park, two at the north end, one in mid-park, and two on the south end.

As always, the artists will be greeted with hospitality, including a fruit and bagel brunch in the gallery on Saturday morning, compliments of Nieman’s Family Market, and an artists-only breakfast at the Voyageur Sunday morning.

Look for live music in the courtyard of the plaza beginning at noon on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday, sponsored by the St. Clair Chamber of Commerce.

The tentacles of the pandemic are visible in the structure of the fair. The 50th anniversary of the fair was canceled in 2020 and held last year, but not on the traditional final full weekend in June; the 2021 fair was held in August. For 49 years, the fair staged the bulk of its artists in the breezeways of Riverview Plaza. But the pandemic, which put primacy on outdoor activities, pushed restaurants into the corridor for outside seating, which remains popular. As a result, the 2021 fair was held exclusively in Palmer Park.

“It will likely be like that for the foreseeable future,” said Path. “It’s a lot of work. But it’s amazing.”

Jim Bloch is a freelance writer based in St. Clair, Michigan. Contact him at bloch.jim@gmail.com.

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